Why Horizontal Drilling is Important to Texas Oil Production

Horizontal Drilling Ramps Up in West Texas' Permian Basin and Dominates Eagle Ford Activity
HorizontalDrillingUS

Horizontal Drilling in the U.S. | Click to Enlarge

The tight oil and shale gas revolution has been made possible largely by horizontal drilling and fracking technology. Although the controversial process of fracking tends to dominate the headlines, advancements made in horizontal drilling have allowed operators to precisely access more of the shale rock layer than was thought possible even a decade ago.

As of this writing, 237 rigs in the Eagle Ford are drilling horizontal wells, which accounts for 88% of all rig activity in the play. Without a doubt, horizontal drilling dominates the Eagle Ford play, not to mention the next most significant shale play, the Bakken Shale, where horizontal drilling also reigns supreme. On our sister site, BakkenShale.com, horizontal drilling in our coverage area accounts for nearly 90% of all active rigs.

Horizontal Drilling Ramps Up in the Permian Basin

Although the Eagle Ford is by far the top producer in the state of Texas, it is not the top dog for horizontal drilling. Rather, its the Permian Basin that currently wears that crown. For years, much of the oil produced in the state came from West Texas, and although the spotlight has recently shifted to the Eagle Ford, the Permian appears to be ramping up for a revolution of its own.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, since the end of 2013, the number of horizontal rigs in the Permian Basin have increased dramatically. From December 27, 2013, to the week ending on May 9, 2014, the number of horizontal, oil-directed rigs in the Permian Basin rose by 63 rigs, which accounts for 50% of the total increase in the United States.

“A change in the horizontal, oil-directed rig count of the scale seen in the Permian indicates a significant rise in activity in its tight oil plays relative to recent developments in other major production areas,” said officials with the EIA .

At the beginning of 2013, both the Eagle Ford Shale and the Bakken Shale, exceeded the Permian Basin in the number of oil-directed horizontal drilling rigs. By the end of 2013, the Permian Basin’s 215 rigs surpassed both the Eagle Ford and Bakken, which at that time had 173 and 164 rigs, respectively. During the first quarter of 2014, the increase in oil-directed horizontal rigs in the Permian Basin was more than four times the combined increase in the Eagle Ford and Williston Basin.

Read more at eia.gov

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Kirk Eggleston

Kirk Eggleston

Contributor at EagleFordShale.com
Kirk Eggleston writes on significant news developments in the Eagle Ford and Bakken Shale plays. He is a former broadcast journalist, and has experience covering news and politics in the Texas and Louisiana markets.

Comments

  1. Tom Williams says:

    Are there going to be any local, state, or national meetings in south/central/west Texas in July/August regarding directional or horizontal drilling and/or 3D surveys???. Any local colleges or training centerrs doing anything??? I have to take a vacation so I am looking to learn something about the current techs – yeah passed analogues a long time ago but I still ain’t on tweeters. I am use to directionals and traditional or 2D surveys but integrating the survey and drilling seems to be the nexus as to being successful – also with where to set the frac stages…

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